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Rescued Pregnant Women: What Should Government Do With Them?

24 May 2015   |   2:33 am
The rescue of over 200 women and children from Boko Haram’s camp last month by the military is not all good news. Some of the women already had babies and others found to be pregnant. A school of thought believes firmly that the pregnancies should be aborted to prevent more terrorists from being unleashed on the society since terrorists can only beget terrorists. This is aside, the stigma that will forever dog them and their mothers on account of the circumstances of the conception and birth of these children. But sentiments apart, what really should the government do with the pregnant women and the expected children? Is abortion an option? Are there references in the scriptures to help deal with the situation? CHRIS IREKAMBA took the issue to clerics.
Rescued Chibok girls

Rescued Chibok girls

….. The Pregnancies Should Not Be Aborted For Any Reason

Government Can Rehabilitate And Give Them A Future’
(Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Enugu and Bishop of Enugu, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion)
ABORTION can never be an option, but government can rehabilitate and give them a future. Again, there are people who are looking for children to adopt. If the mothers don’t want the children, they should give them out for adoption, so that these children can have a meaningful future. Government should also do something about their education. Government should properly care for those vulnerable among them. This is what obtains in the developed nations. A special budget should be created for that purpose. The Bible says we should take care of the widows, orphans and less privileged.

The Bible only enjoins us to care for the widows, orphans and less privileged; it didn’t say we should kill them. What they need is care, which is desirable. What if in the process of aborting the pregnancies, the mothers get killed too? What happened to these women is not their fault; they have to take it as their fate. And if they don’t want the children, then government should take them to the Welfare, where they can take proper care of them including their education. These are children of circumstances; so the government should be able to establish them and ensure that there is a future for them.

‘If They Are Educationally And Morally Trained, They Can Become Good Children’
(His Grace, Most Revd. Emmanuel Josiah Udofia, Primate of the African Church/President, Christian Council of Nigeria)
LIFE is so sacred, according to the scriptures, and no man has any power to take it. Good enough, they are in government’s custody; so the government should do everything possible to ensure the women are taken good care of until they deliver their babies. The children should also not be abandoned. The Bible says children are God’s gifts and nobody has the power to manufacture children. Therefore, those children should not be allowed to become orphans; rather, they should be given adequate care.

Abortion should not be an option in a situation like this. If the life of any of these children is terminated, the person that facilitates it is a murderer and would be held responsible for it. It is against the will of God. Even members of the Boko Haram sect were once good children, but some became bad as a result of bad influence. Some of them were forced into it through being brain washed and hypnotised.

I believe that by the grace of God, if these children are educationally and morally trained, they can become responsible citizens in society in future. The government can take up the responsibility of training them spiritually and on other aspects so that they can become good adults later. Government should particularly ensure that they are not exposed to the kind of trauma their mothers experienced. With all that, I believe earnestly they will live to become useful citizens to this country.

In Judges 11:1, 2, the Bible says they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” Jephthah was rejected by his family because he did not have a father. When it was time to share the property, he was driven away on the ground that he was a strange woman’s son. But the boy later grew to be a useful person to the family and the whole nation of Israel. God used him to deliver Israel from the hands of their enemy and he became a leader of his people. If Jephthah’s mother, a harlot, had aborted him, how could he have delivered the nation of Israel? Any of these unborn children can later become a leader, if they are properly educated, morally and otherwise.

‘Abortion Is A Double Sin And Double Tragedy’
(His Eminence Dr. Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria (MCN)
MY belief is that since these pregnant women are Nigerians, their unborn babies are also Nigerians. Some of them that have husbands should be united with their spouses and families. Government should take up the training of the children of those that are unmarried or widowed. We have Motherless Babies Homes, where some of the children can be taken. State governments can also adopt, educate and undertake their welfare.

Indeed, they should be regarded as government property as from now. But then, each of them should be identified to know the state s/he comes from. They can still become illustrious sons and daughters of this country if well taken care of.

So for me, abortion is not an option at all, because it is a double sin and double tragedy. The menace of insurgency is enough trauma for these women. What they need now is comfort, proper and tender care until they are able to deliver. And those babies should become government responsibility.

Faith-based organisations can equally adopt some of the babies and train them until they become responsible human beings. Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy and the Bible says in James 1 or 2:10 that pure religion is taking care of widows, fatherless and motherless babies and to keep oneself undefiled from the world. That type of ministry is very dear to God’s heart. We should be good Samaritans. I don’t think these children will become useless in life. There is what is called ‘nature nurtured.’ The environment where they grow up will affect them and so, if they are properly taken care of, together with good education, they shouldn’t constitute any menace to the society. This can only happen if they are neglected and left to their own devices, then they will become miscreants. But if they grow up in conducive environment, tutored on the way of the Lord, taught about patriotism, civic education, how to respect human values, whether they are Muslims or Christians, they will grow up to be useful and credible Nigerians.

‘Government Is Advised To Take Over The Training Of These Children From Birth’
(Rev. Samson Olasupo A Ayokunle, President, Nigerian Baptist Convention / Vice President Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN)
ON the impregnated women by Boko Haram terrorists, the situation is quite pathetic and unfortunate. It is an indelible mark of a combination of a number of factors. These range from the failure of government to confront the terrorists with force at the early stage, which gave them room to gain strength to the betrayal of the nation by the military, ‎lack of adequate weapons to fight insurgency and wrong religious indoctrination, made possible by idleness or unemployment.

However, as a sociologist, educationist and clergyman, I think the children these women are going to deliver should be handed over to government for care. A child can become anything in life depending upon the type of education given to him/her. Government is advised to take over the training of these children right from birth and give them the best education at home and if possible abroad. Training is what determines what a child would be in future. Abortion is not an option at all. It is sinful and of course, murder in disguise. The Bible says, ‘train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old, he will not depart from it’ — Proverbs 22: 6.

‘Anybody Who Says These Children Will Turn Out To Be Nuisance Is Playing God’
(Rt Rev. Monsignor John Aniagwu, Vicar-General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos/Parish Priest, St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Ikeja, Lagos)
WE don’t accept abortion as a solution to anything. The government should help the women to deliver their children and if they want to keep their children, fine! But if they don’t want to keep them, they can give them out for adoption. Kind-hearted individuals can adopt the children. They can be trained to become educated and useful like any other Nigerian. On the other hand, if they are taken to Motherless Homes, their education should not be a problem. Those saying the children will become nuisance to the society are not God. They should stop playing God. The future of these children is not in the hand of any mortal, as only the Lord knows it.

There are children from stable homes who turnout to be nuisance any way. So, who says these children will not turn out to be good? Anybody who is saying that is trying to play God and to foretell the future. I don’t think anybody has the ability to foretell of what will become of these women and their children.

Though I don’t have ready references, but of course, there were cases in the Bible, where people were violated and had children out of wedlock. But there is no time abortion was mentioned as the solution. The Bible certainly has no place for abortion under any circumstances and nowhere was it offered as a solution to a so-called unwanted pregnancy.

‘Government Should Manage Them To Avoid Social Problems’
(Archbishop Joseph Imariabe Ojo, General Overseer and Presiding Bishop of Calvary Kingdom Church, CKC, Lagos-Badagry Expressway)
IN the first place, if the terrorists’ reason for impregnating the women is to populate their sect, that plan is already defeated by the capture and freedom of these girls and women.

Secondly, the government should be able to manage the situation in such a way that those affected will not have social problems. The pregnancies should not be aborted for any reason. They should be government’s responsibility both at the pre-natal and post-natal stages. Depending on the stages of their pregnancy, they risk losing their lives, if abortion is attempted.

In the Bible, if men are quarrelling and one hits a pregnant woman and it leads to abortion, he is expected to be punished. Exod. 21.22-23. These are laws we cannot abide by now, but suffice it to say that God hates abortion whether by government or individual.

I suggest the government should do all it can to restore these women to an acceptable and normal social life. There is life after Boko Haram. These children should be raised in a good environment that is devoid of violence, because man is a product of his environment.